A Note to All Oak Street Health Team Members
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have done everything we can to protect patients, team members, and our communities from COVID-19. This has included a significant vaccination effort in our centers and in the communities we serve, where we have proudy administered more than 180,000 doses. Vaccination continues to be our best protection against COVID-19 and variants that are evolving. As a result, we have established a new policy regarding vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.
Effective September 10, 2021, Oak Street Health will require all team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Individuals must receive at least one dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose of J&J, by September 10, 2021, and the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna by October 8, 2021.
Those who remain unvaccinated after the deadlines above without an approved exemption will be subject to future termination.
Exemptions to this policy may be granted in the form of an accomodation for those who have a qualifying medical condition or strongly held religious belief, and submit an Exemption Request Form by September 10, 2021.
All new hires are required to have their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna, or the single dose of J&J, complete by September 10th or their first day of employment (whichever is later), and their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna within four weeks of hire, as a condition of employment.
Reasons for requiring vaccination are clear:
COVID cases are accelerating in virtually all Oak Street markets. Variants are on the rise; we know the currently dominant Delta variant now accounts for the majority of cases and is 2-3x more contagious than the original pandemic virus.
Vaccines are safe and remain highly effective at reducing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. They also significantly reduce the frequency of milder infections that can transmit COVID to others. Unvaccinated individuals are the overwhelming majority of people being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 in the United States.
We know the vaccine is safe and effective due to the vast number of vaccines delivered worldwide - more than 2 billion doses - which provides as much or more data than we would normally see in multi-year clinical trials.
Excellent clinical outcomes for our patients require a full, healthy staff. Whether or not you are in direct patient care, all Oakies play a vital role in helping us achieve these outcomes.
The decision to require COVID-19 vaccination was made with considerable input from our own COVID-19 Response Team and other senior clinical and operational leaders. It reflects a similar policy already in place for influenza, and is further supported by several healthcare & hospital systems, healthcare professional organizations, and businesses in other industries that have issued statements and policies calling for mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers and others in recent weeks. The City of Philadelphia and New York state, for example, are requiring vaccination for all healthcare workers. Other organizations include the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, Kaiser Permanente, University of Chicago Medical System, Houston Methodist, Facebook, Google, Walmart, and countless others.
If you have not been vaccinated, please schedule an appointment for a vaccine today. We are proud of the progress we have made toward vaccinating the majority of our staff but recognize that it has not been an easy decision for everyone. As we have been in the past, we remain available to help answer any questions you may have about the vaccines. We urge everyone to get vaccinated, as our goal is to retain every one of our outstanding team members.
Our priorities during the pandemic remain clear: care for our patients and the communities we serve, take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our teams and their loved ones, and do our part to help mitigate the spread of the disease in our communities. We know that the best way to do that is by requiring COVID-19 vaccination.
On behalf of the entire Executive Committee, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to help us fulfill our mission and provide exceptional care to our patients.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Medical Officer